Virgin Australia will introduce its fleet of Airbus A330-200s on its loss-making international network from April when it sends the widebodied aircraft to Fiji.
The A330s will operate between Sydney to Nadi on a seasonal basis with the first flight starting on Saturday April 4, the airline said in a statement on Monday. It was the first time the Virgin A330s will be used on international flights.
Virgin Australia chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said the move to use the A330, with its greater number of business class seats compared with the Boeing 737, to Fiji was in “response to the sustained increase in demand for premium product and services”.
“Today’s announcement is part of our strategy to ensure we have a flexible and responsive fleet supporting future customer demand and broader network priorities,” Crompton said in a statement.
Schedules on the Virgin Australia website show the first A330 international service on Saturday April 4 was due to depart Sydney at 0830 and land at Nadi at 1330. The reciprocal VA 180 had a departure time from Nadi at 1500 and arrival time back at Mascot at 1900.
The seasonal A330 flights to Nadi were slated for April, between June and October and over the Christmas/New Year period and would have “no impact on existing A330 trans-continental services”, Virgin said.
Virgin Australia’s international flying posted an earnings before interest and tax loss of $49.5 million for the six months to December 31 2014, a deterioration from a $31.9 million loss in the prior corresponding half, and chief executive John Borghetti has flagged a number of initiatives to return the operation to profitability.
Meanwhile, Virgin said the its six-strong fleet of A330s – which currently fly between Perth and Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney – would also be used on select weekday services between Melbourne and Sydney at peak times.